soundwalk

The pier [disquiet0149-processingthepresent]

Being new to an area provides many opportunities to learn about one's environment. I've done many soundwalks, but not so many in downtown St. Petersburg. It was a beautiful day on Friday and a bike ride over to the Pier was in order. The area has been neglected for some time and plans exist to demolish and redesign some of the structures. I like the idea of capturing the history of a place, whether abandoned or in the process of entropy.

My initial plan was to soundwalk the length of the pier, a paved road that was much longer than I had anticipated. Walking around the Pier building,a five-story inverted pyramid-shaped structure, rendered 4:34 minutes of recording time.  I explored the area a bit more and experimented with the boardwalk at the eastern most edge of the pier. I worked with the 3:19s of walking/recording time which appears in the left channel unedited. Sounds from the nearby International Airport, fisherman talking, the call of seabirds, resonant waves lapping under the concrete pier supports, creaks from the boardwalk, and other site specific field recordings are littered throughout. I also added a few ominous loops that change throughout the length of the walk/track.

In many ways, I feel this particular Disquiet Junto project is an odd extension of some of my work, namely working with the environment and using maps as points of departure for a composition, with field recordings as source material.

The map illustrates different scales of context of the St. Petersburg area. I also incorporated a sense of visual continuation throughout the image, one that reflects the spatiotemporal length of the 'track', both audio and physical motion of walking along the pier.


More on this 149th Disquiet Junto project — “Take a walk around the block and make something from it″ — at:

http://disquiet.com/2014/11/06/disquiet0149-processingthepresent/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

MUSICIRCUS

 
 

This past Saturday I attended Musicircus, an event held by MOCA Cleveland,  to celebrate the building’s move to University Circle as well as the centenary of composer John Cage’s birth (Cage was born on September 5, 1912).  The new building is designed by Farshid Moussavi, previously co-founder and co-principal of Foreign Office Architects (FOA). 

Musicircus is a concept developed by John Cage in 1967: “The idea of this composition is nothing more than an invitation to a number of musicians, who perform simultaneously anything or in any way they desire.”

All performers (over 30 in this case) are treated with equal weight and importance. The length of each musician’s or ensemble’s set, along with their order of presentation, is predetermined in advance by utilizing chance procedures from the I Ching.  

Performers were in as many spots in the building as possible, to evoke the “simultaneity of unrelated intentions” which Cage sought with this framework.

The audience was free to roam and focus their attention on one musician or ensemble at a time. Instead of performing myself (though I brought along a few home-made contact mics in hopes for true unplanned sonic intervention) I decided to experience the sound and the architecture of the space while recording with the portable Tascam DR-100. My performance was in the tour of sounds themselves, the movement between the aural happenings. What resulted was a personal tracing of my journey throughout the building: experiencing the myriad of sonic phenomena and textures among the phase shifts from one room to another, footsteps, doors closing, the passing of a group of musicians on the stairwell, a theremin along a wall, violins in a corner, Cluster ‘71-like drones, dinks from a broken wine glass from behind a sculpture, homemade contraptions, random conversations, a baby, garbage bags.

As the entire recording lasted a little over 2 and a half hours, I chose a 12 minute portion which illustrates the success of the event, which you can listen to below. Some of my favorite parts of the event were the in between spaces, where it seemed that out of the chaos, everything was unintentionally part of the whole, peculiarly vibrating together.